President Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee was among the 15 candidates named by the Congress on Thursday for the Delhi assembly elections.
The list, Congress’ third, includes five former MLAs, three municipal councillors and a couple of leaders who switched from other parties to the Congress in the past few days. Senior party functionaries said the remaining six candidates are likely to be announced on Friday. The six constituencies include the prestigious New Delhi assembly seat from which the party is most likely to field former education minister Kiran Walia.
“We were waiting for the BJP to announce its candidate from New Delhi. But we will announce our remaining candidates on Friday,” a senior party functionary said, requesting anonymity. He, however, was quick to add that the party was not going to change its candidates irrespective of who contests on the BJP ticket.
Sharmistha Mukherjee, 49, will contest from the Greater Kailash assembly constituency in south Delhi against former transport minister and AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj.
Among former MLAs who have been renamed by the Congress in its candidate list are Vir Singh Dhingan (Seempauri), Anil Kumar (Patparganj), Malaram Gangwal (Madipur), Rajesh Lilothia (Patel Nagar) and Vipin Sharma (Rohtash Nagar). All five candidates were defeated by AAP nominees in the 2013 elections.
“All of them enjoy a good support in their areas but lost the last election due to a strong pro-AAP wave. But we are sure they will be able to wrest their seats back,” a senior Delhi Congress leader said.
Among prominent leaders who have been replaced by the Congress include former social welfare minister Mangat Ram Singhal. The party has fielded leader of the opposition in North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Mukesh Goel, from Adarsh Nagar assembly seat in his place. Singhal had represented Adarsh Nagar for 15 years.
Apart from New Delhi, the party is yet to announce candidates for Moti Nagar, which is a BJP stronghold, Sikh-dominated Tilak Nagar, Babrpur, Karawal Nagar and Sangam Vihar.
“There were different views on candidates that we have shortlisted within the Congress Working Committee. Final decision will be taken by late Thursday evening and names will be announced on Friday,” said a senior party leader.